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Lion Guides: Guide to Columbia Dining Halls

Since its your first day experiencing a Columbia dining hall, namely the lack of space in Ferris, The Lion has compiled a guide to the dining halls. Take a peak into the many dining options that Columbia has to offer. 


John Jay

The classic. The reliable. The… renovated? The Lion hasn’t heard much about the summer construction work on John Jay, only that it was EXTENSIVE. Also, it was really loud and annoying if you worked anywhere nearby. That place better be plated in gold now or something.

While we don’t know how the renovations will affect the food, in the past John Jay has been quantity over quality. There are tons of food options, from your hot meal to a full salad bar, it’s just that none of them stand out as especially good (and the pizza is kind of a crime). But, there is a frozen yogurt machine. And if the day’s special isn’t too bad, then maybe that’s all it takes.

Ferris Booth

Once a cafe, turned dining hall 3 years ago, Ferris is hands down the best place to go for lunch. The pasta line gets ridiculously long, but it’s easy to grab a quick sandwich, soup, or salad. Last year there was one amazing sandwich with brie cheese and mango chutney. The pizza is usually decent too, and the dessert bar is ridiculous, with a bunch of different cakes, brownies, puddings, etc.

Ferris’ breakfast might also be tops at Columbia. They’ve got tons of cereal, great hot options, and the massive amounts of sunlight that gets in through the eating area’s huge windows will help wake you up. Plus, they’ve added a second staircase ending years of collisions and  many fallen slices of pizza.


Late nights, when you just need a break from studying, this is where everybody goes. In the basement of John Jay, they have all the greasy goodness that comfort food should; also Jamba Juice machines and a milkshake dispenser.


The Barnard dining hall, while farther away, is a good option for lunch or dinner. If you’re a Columbia student, they charge you extra for breakfast, so don’t bother. The actual hot dishes here are always the best, made in smaller portions and therefore, I think, with more care. The pizza is the least greasy option around. At the sandwich station, all options are made to order, which is great. The desserts vary widely, but when there are cookies you’re in luck.

Other Options

Cafe 212 and Cafe East (in Lerner), Uris Deli (in Uris), Carleton Lounge (in Mudd), Lenfest Deli (in the Law School), and Blue Java (in Butler) all take dining dollars and Flex.

Brad’s (next to Furnald), Brownie’s (in Avery), and Joe’s (in NoCo) do not.

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